Summiting The Highest Peak In The Rosengarten Group – Via Ferrata Catinaccio d’Antermoia

There are over 80 peaks in the Italian Dolomites that reach over 3000 metres, and Catinaccio d’Antermoia is one of them.

It’s also the tallest summit in its group known as the Rosengarten, located in the North West part of the Dolomites. 

The fact that reaching the top is easy accessible to the beginners of the Via Ferrata World make it for an excellent possibility to bag one of the highest summits in the Dolomites. 

Via Ferrata Catinaccio D’Antermoia – the Stats:

Time required: 3-4 hours (excluding the approach to the hut)

Elevation gain: ca. 400 m / 1300 ft (from the hut)

Route difficulty: beginner

The summit of Catinaccio photographed from the Terrarosa Peak. Italian Dolomites.
The summit of Catinaccio photographed from the Terrarosa Peak

Getting to the start of the via ferrata Catinaccio D’Antermoia

It’s quite the hike to get to Passo Principe where the via ferrata to the summit of Catinaccio officially starts. A taxi shuttle used to operate to rifugio Gardeccia, helping tourists to skip the not so exciting part of the hike, but it has been recently cancelled. 

The quickest way now is to take the cable car from Vigo di Fassa and walk 2,5 hours along a well maintained path. First follow the signs for rifugio Gardeccia. 

Path 584 to Passo Prinzipe.  Rosengarten, Italian Dolomites.
Path 584 to Passo Prinzipe.  Rosengarten, Italian Dolomites.

From rifugio Gardeccia take the path nr 546 and follow the signs for Rifugio Vajolet (around 1 hour). Make sure to make a brief stop here to admire the beautiful Vajolet towers visible to the left. 

The route then continues upward onto path nr 584 for another hour to Rifugio Passo Principe (Grassleitenpasshütte) –  one of my favourite mountain hut in the Dolomites. 

Via ferrata Catinaccio D'Antermoia information
Catinaccio – not the prettiest of mountains

The summit of Catinaccio will eventually be directly in front of you. I remember looking at it the first time and thinking to myself, am I really going to summit that? It looks scarier than it is! 

Although everything is very well marked, it’s always best to visualise your journey so I recommend carrying a map with you. In this case Tobacco map nr 6 will do the job. 

Alternatively you can reach Passo Principe via via ferrata Passo Santner. I have done it myself as part of multiday hut to hut traverse of the Rosengarten group in the Dolomites. This is a great option if you plan an overnight stay in one of the many rifugios operating in the area. 

Via Ferrata Catinaccio D’Antermoia: Route Description

Via Ferrata Catinaccio D'Antermoia with rifugio Passo Prinzipe visible in the fast distance
Cable protection along the route

Once you make it to Passo Principe, stand on the helipad with your back facing the hut. Directly in front of you is the scree path going up which you will have to take. Turn left and follow the ledge and the prominent red paint marks until you reach a ladder.

Once you counter intuitively down climb a ladder, the route continues up in big zigzags.

There is quite a few exposed sections on this via ferrata, but they are all very well equipped with cables. Make sure to always clip in. On each via ferrata I have done there was always at least one remembrance plaque somewhere along the way with a name and photo of the fallen victim. 

Via Ferrata Gear Essentials

Black Diamond Half Dome Helmet

To protect your head from any potential rockfall set off by climbing groups above you, or any other head injuries. 

Black Diamond Momentum Harness 

Aim for a lightweight harness, which will be comfy to wear between the cable protected sections when you are hiking. 

Black Diamond Crag Gloves

When you haul yourself on a metal cable for half a day your hands will quickly become blistered. My advice is to go for full fingered gloves. 

Camp Kinetic Rewind Pro Via Ferrata Lanyard

Developed specifically for via ferrata scrambling, the lanyard provides shock absorption  in case of a fall.

The views along the via ferrata Catinaccio D'antermoia

With every meter of elevation that you gain, the views just get better and better. You will be able to look down upon the path you hiked on to reach Passo Principe, as well as get a perfect glimpse of the heart of the Rosengarten group. 

The last 50 meters leading to the summit cross are very exposed and the cables disappear. I would lie if I said I wasn’t feeling a bit scared. Just make sure you go slowly and place your feet steadily. 

Summit views via ferrata Catinaccio D'antermoia
Summit views via ferrata Catinaccio D'antermoia
Summit views via ferrata Catinaccio D'antermoia
Summit views via ferrata Catinaccio D'antermoia

From the summit you will be able to look down to lake Antermoia, Marmolada – Dolomite’s highest peak and Sassolungo – the prominent peak and one of the most iconic photo subjects in the area. 

Of course it wouldn’t be Italy, if there wasn’t a cross at the top! 

Summit views of the via ferrata Catinaccio D'Antermoia
Walking along the ridgeline at the summit.

The descent is just on the other side of the mountain and similarly to the ascent it’s clearly signalled with red paint marks. In circa one hour you will make it down to Antermoia valley (Val D’Antermoia), which you could see from the summit.

From here you have to continue upward on path 584 to Passo Antermoia then down to rifugio Passo Principe. 

I highly recommend staying overnight in the rifugio. Not only it is the coolest building structure I have seen in the Dolomites, it also has the nicest atmosphere, very cheerful owner and a cute Border Collie named Chiaco to keep you company! 

If you have any questions about this via ferrata make sure to post them in the comments. I always answer! For more inspiration on via ferratas, photography or hiking, visit my Italian Dolomites Guide. 


Hi! I am the photographer and creator of I come from Poland, but I've been living, travelling and working around the globe since I turned 18. A few years ago, during one of my trips to Scotland, I bought my first DSLR and my adventure with photography began. When I am not stuck to my computer editing photos, you can find me hiking somewhere in the mountains.


  1. Hi Marta, we just did the Santner via ferrata as our first one and it was great!! But it took us way longer than you described, like 3hrs from rif Fronza to rif santner. How do you think the difficulty of santner compared to this one? We also found the descent from santner to rif vajolet quite challenging (slippery scree). Would love to hear your thoughts before we decide to attempt! 😊

    • Hi Katie. I am probably very late with the answer. I am sorry for not responding sooner but was off the grid for the past week. I will still leave an answer in case others are looking for the same info. To me via ferrata Catinaccio was easier when going up, but there is downclimbing involved to get down the mountain on the other side and I find downclimbing on a via ferrata more difficult than going up. As for the descent to rifugio Vajolet, yes it can be challenging, especially after it rained etc. Anyways I hope you decided to go up Catinaccio and had an awesome time!

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